We are continuing our LIVE coverage from the first week of the 2014 Epcot Food and Wine Festival!
We’ve been busy eating at the various Marketplaces and attending events to bring you lots of good information.
The Brazil Marketplace Booth
The Brazil Marketplace returned last year after a brief hiatus, and wasted no time establishing itself as a favorite stop on festival guests’ trip around the World. And this year, it’s back again on a big ol’ plot of World Showcase land all its own (with a WATERFALL! and LIVE MUSIC!).
This is the old Belgium location (Belgium has been booted next door), so there’s a seating area set up covered with colorful flags.
There’s a little waterfall (which the Cast Member made sure I knew about; they’re super proud of it). And if you’re lucky, you might catch some live Brazilian music while you’re there.
The food is pretty much all new, except for the pork belly. And the drinks include some good offerings.
We were interested to see a new seafood dish debut at the Brazil Marketplace. The Moqueca de Pescado features responsibly farm-raised Regal Springs Tilapia. It’s flavored with a Coconut Lime Sauce and is served on a bed of steamed Rice.
You guys know I’m not a HUGE seafood eater, but some of the festival’s offerings this year have made a liar out of me…including this one. I really enjoyed it! The dish is light with good flavor. But I was shocked that after I took my first tentative bite of fish, I actually went back for more. Red-letter day for me, my friends. ;-D
One of 2013’s most popular dishes, Crispy Pork Belly with Black Beans, Tomato, and Cilantro, returns this year. While the 2013 version also featured Avocado in the mix, we aren’t really missing it. The Pork Belly stands on its own just fine!
One of our early favorites this year is the Pao de Queijo, or Brazilian Cheese Bread. It sounds so simple, doesn’t it?
And it really is. Break it open, and you can see that it’s pretty much just soft cheesy bread stuffed with more cheese. This version is much better than the varieties that I’ve had at my favorite churrascaria back home.
And finally, we had no idea what to expect when we read that Cocada — Brazilian Coconut Candy — would be included in the line up here. But this simple dessert also turned out to be one of our early favorites!
Sweet and full of coconut flavor, the texture reminds me of those no-bake “haystack” cookies that I loved as a kid. Super-sweet, but pretty awesome.
Does anyone have a Brazilian grandmother they’d like to share with me? 😉
And you know we’re getting the Frozen Caipirinha here.
The Puerto Rico Marketplace Booth
The Puerto Rico Marketplace is back in 2014 after a brief hiatus, also with a brand new booth and a big chunk of real estate. And the petite, two-story structure is pretty cool. (These booths keep getting bigger and better each year. Maybe by 2025 they’ll have an entire park dedicated to the Food and Wine Festival year round. Hint, hint, Disney.)
The marketplace is actually one of the first that you come to in your journey around the World if you choose to begin your trip on the Canada side. Just like Brazil, Puerto Rico enjoys a larger seating area with plenty of room to mingle. And that definitely came in handy opening weekend, as crowds swelled quickly.
The menu for the 2014 Marketplace is completely new.
You find a nice array of flavors here. Conch, enjoyed throughout the Caribbean, has the spotlight in the fresh Ensalada de Carrucho — Caribbean Conch Salad with Onion, Tomato, and Cilantro. The conch meat is steamed and served over steamed Rice in a paper cone. Easy to eat, although not so easy to photograph. 😉
I wasn’t sure what to expect with the Carne Guisada con Arroz Blanco, or Slow-Braised Beef served over Rice, but the flavors reminded me of the “Spanish Rice” my dad used to make when I was a kid! (I know; that totally helps you to imagine what it’s like, right? ;-D)
It’s got some great spice to it, with that tomato/olive savory flavor. The meat was a bit overdone, but overall, the dish was absolutely worth buying. (Good-sized portion, too.)
OK, so here’s the weirdness about the Food and Wine Festival. We’d been reporting all Summer on the Frituras that we had seen at previews for the Puerto Rico booth, but the day before the Festival opened, they switched up the menu to say they were now serving Tostones instead. You never know what you’re gonna get, eh?
Well, regardless, the Twice-Fried Green Plantains are served traditionally with a side of Mayo Ketchup for dipping. And I was bowled over! I figured I’d take a small bite and move on, but that Mayo Ketchup was out of this world. What the heck? Why hasn’t anyone told me about this before! (And I don’t even like mayo…at all…not even a little bit.)
And, no, it didn’t taste like bananas with ketchup. Which, I’ll be honest, I thought it might.
And don’t skip dessert. The Flancocho, with its flavors of Caramel, Vanilla, and Coffee, was pretty good. I was worried that it would be more “milk jello” like panna cotta or flan, but it was much more custardy than jello-y.
There are several beverages to choose from as well. While a Medalla Light Beer may be the perfect crisp option for a hot Florida day, there are some other interesting flavors to tempt you.
I had to try the Frozen San Juan Breeze. If there is one quintessential Puerto Rico flavor, this must be it! They didn’t have Don Q Limón Floater ready when I was there, so I just got the non-alcoholic version. Pretty awesome. 😀 I drank much more than I should have.
And the Gasolina Sangriiia Cocktail is like fruit punch for grown ups! Seriously! It tasted a little like grape juice, but with a zing. I really liked it. Probably too much.
We’ll be looking forward to seconds of many of these dishes throughout the coming weeks!
Want More Details About the 2014 Epcot Food and Wine Festival?
We are always working to bring you all of the latest and most important news and updates on the 2014 Epcot Food and Wine Festival right here, so stay tuned for details and check out all of the info below!
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News! The DFB Guide to the 2014 Epcot Food & Wine Festival e-Book is now available!
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What dish from the Brazil and Puerto Rico Marketplace Booths looks the best to you? Let us know by leaving a comment!